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Neptune
Jun 23rd, 2007, 10:29 AM
Saturday, June 23, 2007




Sharapova dreams of going for Wimbledon gold

LONDON: Maria Sharapova has set her sights on going for an Olympic gold medal at Wimbledon. Sharapova, 20, knows exactly what it feels like to be a champion on centre court at the All-England Club after winning the singles title there in 2004. The Russian starts her bid to land another Wimbledon crown next week, but even that pales in comparison to the prospect of successfully representing her country when the Olympics go to London in 2012.

Wimbledon is scheduled to host the Olympic tennis tournament and that suits Sharapova perfectly because, as well as her win three years ago, she has also reached two semi-finals on the famous grass courts of south-west London. The US Open champion, who didn’t play in Athens in 2004, would consider playing at the Beijing Olympics next year, but it is the chance to compete for gold at Wimbledon that has captured her imagination. “I would love to compete in 2012 because that will be played on Centre Court at Wimbledon, which would be amazing,” she said. “It is five years from now, but you never know.

“2012 will be a wonderful opportunity, because there is so much excitement around it. You could see how much pride Britain gained from winning their bid.” With few British players capable of making it into the top 100 in the womens’ world rankings, there is little chance of Sharapova being challenged by a home player for either an Olympic medal or the Wimbledon title. In stark contrast, tennis in eastern Europe is stronger than ever. Several of Sharapova’s Russian compatriots, as well as Serbian duo Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, are all capable of taking Amelie Mauresmo’s Wimbledon title. Sharapova, seeded second at Wimbledon, believes British players must toughen up mentally if they are to become serious challengers.

“People often ask me why do I think suddenly Russian women have been so successful in tennis and it is really hard to say,” she said. “It is not like you can put 10 people in one factory and they are all going to be successful. We all developed our game and our own talent in different ways. A lot of it has to do as well with the love of the sport. For example, in America, kids have a lot of opportunities - they can play tennis, they can play baseball or basketball. In Russia, for someone to be a tennis player, they probably have to drive around an hour each way to get to a training facility, so their dedication is towards just one sport. If they are not passionate about it and just have someone forcing them to do it, then I do not think that is the way to develop talent.”

In a desperate attempt to improve the quality of British players, the Lawn Tennis Association has invested over 40 million pounds in a state of the art training centre in London for the country’s young talents. Sharapova would love to see Russian youngsters benefit from similar facilities and that is one reason why she hopes Sochi, the Russian Black Sea resort where she spent her early childhood, wins its bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The former world number one, who is an ambassador the Sochi bid, had to leave Russia aged nine because there were not enough high-quality training facilities to develop her game.

But if Sochi beats Austria’s Salzburg and South Korea’s Pyeong Chang in the IOC vote, to be held in Guatemala on July 4, she is convinced the legacy would be priceless. She said: “One of the greatest things we could achieve by bringing the Winter Olympics to Sochi would be giving the young kids the facilities and opportunity to stay in their own country, and be around their own family, to develop their dreams.” afp

xan
Jun 23rd, 2007, 11:24 AM
Hopefully Masha will win the Wimbledom olympics of 20012 :)

I also hope Sochi does get the Winter Olympics. I don't think Russia has ever hosted the Winter Olympics - which is very strange really.

Craigy
Jun 23rd, 2007, 11:26 AM
Hopefully Masha will win the Wimbledom olympics of 20012 :)

I'd be worried :lol: :p

Porcupine
Jun 23rd, 2007, 11:49 AM
I'd be worried :lol: :p

I was thinking the same thing ;) Typo mistake is great fun :lol::lol::p:p

lecciones
Jun 23rd, 2007, 11:59 AM
hehehe :) typo.

Sharapova has a huge poster in the Nike Shop I passed by today at the mall, she looks pretty, maybe I'll post it somewhere.

Andy.
Jun 23rd, 2007, 01:37 PM
hehehe :) typo.

Sharapova has a huge poster in the Nike Shop I passed by today at the mall, she looks pretty, maybe I'll post it somewhere.
That would be great